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Japan Medicine NASA Space Science

Osteoporosis Drug Makes Lengthy Space Trips More Tolerable 42

Posted by timothy
from the get-your-bones-to-mars dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Japanese researchers have discovered that by taking drugs normally targeted at osteoporosis sufferers they can mitigate the long term effects of weightlessness. This makes it more possible that humans could reasonably fly to Mars land there and be fully functional even after the lengthy journey." JAXA provides much more detail, including interviews with both lead investigator Toshio Matsumoto and Koichi Wakata, the first subject of the experiment.
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Osteoporosis Drug Makes Lengthy Space Trips More Tolerable

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:22AM (#38279234)

    Using up Oxygen is a non-problem, because it's not exactly used up, just placed in another form, converting it back is a well understood chemical process that can be done by any number of mechanisms.

    Or just carry plenty along, depending on which is the better choice for mass.

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:31AM (#38279318)

    the better choice for mass

    Well there is the *real* problem--mass. Food, water, radiation shielding, fuel--that all takes up a lot of mass too. If only Mars were in LEO.

  • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @10:31AM (#38279324)

    Using up Oxygen is a non-problem, because it's not exactly used up, just placed in another form, converting it back is a well understood chemical process that can be done by any number of mechanisms.

    Or just carry plenty along, depending on which is the better choice for mass.

    Probably some of both. I would expect that such a mission would have an insane number of redundancies, and there's no reason at that point to not include some new tech when there's old safeguard redundancies there. If anything they'll use tech developed for the space station, which doesn't exactly have an umbilical running back to the atmosphere- yes they get resupplied by the Shuttle^H^H^H^H^H^H^HRussians periodically, but they have to go a long time without fresh air being delivered...

  • Wrong approach (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheLink (130905) on Tuesday December 06, 2011 @02:03PM (#38282448) Journal
    Using this sort of drugs for space trips is silly. If you want to _stay_ in space, build space stations or space craft that have artificial "gravity", not mess about with crap like this.

    Artificial gravity is not an impossible problem - tethers and counterweights, docking at centre of mass. Plenty of options.

    The big problem I see is adequate and cost effective radiation shielding. Once you solve radiation shielding and artificial gravity, you no longer need to "rush" to Mars before you rot or get irradiated to death.

    If you don't solve these two problems first, trying to go to Mars or having long space trips is like a baby trying to jump before it is able to stand or walk. A waste of time and resources, and a bad idea.

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